In a few years when you're checking out of your room at the Space Hotel, what the heck are you going to use to tip the chambermaid? That's the type of question that a new initiative called PayPal Galactic aims to answer.
Launched today by PayPal president David Marcus and astronaut Buzz Aldrin (!) at the SETI Institute in California, PayPal Galactic will explore the big questions that inevitably come up when large amounts of money are being passed around. Questions like, who will regulate financial transactions in space? How can transactions be protected from financial fraud and other crimes? And how can existing banking systems be adapted to work for extra-terrestrial transactions?
While this might all seem a bit premature, remember that Virgin Galactic is aiming to start their commercial space flights by the end of this year. Clearly, you've got to have some way to pay for those orbital cocktails, and it appears that PayPal wants to get their foot in the door first.